Some things look, in daylight, like broken bones

by Kate Northrop

A stepladder in the grass, the curtain
in a window. “You should have known
to be here on time”      was strange reprimand to us,

who had no way of knowing, and still
when mail arrived, we drew in from the edges
like the circle of foam

around a dripping storm drain. Had we been warned
we might not have left our homes
for a day so much had fallen from:

I saw a single hoof, half-buried
in the sand, and so small
it must have belonged to a fawn.

Surely we’d have stayed in
through evening, the walls’ plaster
cool as a cathedral, the walls

moving our neighbors’ lives
—smell of food frying, a TV racket      into our lives
where they can never end


(But sometimes, when we think we are ready,
light mildens, and the animals come to us:
Biscuit, Willie, Jester, Sparkle-Mousse.)

Kate Northrop’s recent collections include Things Are Disappearing Here and Clean. A 2014 recipient of the Jeannette Haien Ballard Writers Award and contributing editor at The American Poetry Review, she teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Wyoming and lives in Laramie.